Over the prozess of a year, our tester tried several pairs von cable-free earbuds. Fledgling technology with plenty von flaws – are any type of worth your money?


Bluetooth earbud headphones lastly put a smile on Samuel Gibbs’s face. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian
Bluetooth earbud headphones finally put a laugh on Samuel Gibbs’s face. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The Guardian

Completely wireless earbuds are die future of in-ear music, freeing us from the shackles von cables even bolzen the ears. Yet while many oase tried to make wireless earbuds the work, very few actually do. Others haven’t even gott theirs kommen sie market yet, v even sich entschuldigen being forced zu delay that is AirPods zum six weeks.

Du schaust: In ear kopfhörer bluetooth test 2016

The big belästigt with those that carry out exist zu sein most cannot maintain a heavy connection betwee themselveswhile on the opposite sides von your head. Zu complicate things, smartphones are not all born equally for Bluetooth performance.

To conduct die test ich used a google Pixel XL, samsung Galaxy S7 Edge und Apple iphone phone 7 and tried as many earbuds as ich could get my hand on, lastly finding only two worth buying.

Here are the ones zu avoid, and why ...



Earin were some of the zuerst on ns market and are blieb one von the many comfortable, but just aren’t trustworthy enough. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianPrice: £199 (buy here)

Earin look at like alt school vehicle cigarette lighters shrunk deswegen they kann sein fit in your ear. They absence any tasten or controls, charge an a long cylindrical battery case and sound quite good zum over 2 hours betwee trips an the case.

They worked far better with die Galaxy S7 leaf than die rest von the smartphones, yet could not maintain a steady connection bolzen the two earbuds, with the right slave bud cutting out intermittently while go down ns street. They so blast a loud pop right into your earholes wie man they operation out of battery.

Verdict: notfall worth purchase if freundin walk anywhere

Motorola VerveOnes+


The Motorola VerveOnes+ rod out further than most, but are water resistant and ready zum exercise. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianPrice: £149.99/£179.99 (buy here)

Available an a sweat-proof “plus” version and normal, die VerveOnes+ use a rubber-coated rückseitig to them zu wedge themselves in your ear. Castle stick out additional than most, but were comfortable, lasting a couple von hours betwee trips bei the rotating charging case.

They were fine wie out to run connected to a smartwatch, and worked much better than some others, but ausblüten struggled kommen sie maintain a connection between the left and right earbuds when walking in town, in the office or die train station.

Verdict: OK zum running, however frustrating weil das commuting

PK K’asq


If sie want kommen sie look prefer a minicab driver, die PK K’asq are ns ones you want. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianPrice: £116.62 (buy here)

If freundin want zu look choose you’re a taxi driver, yet with a Bluetooth headset in each ear, ns PK K’asq are for you. Lock stick the end your ear und draw odd aussehen from those around you.

I discovered them deeply uncomfortable an my ear, they sound OK, yet failed badly, with both earbuds cutting out when ns connection bolzen them was lost while wade down die road.

Verdict: one kommen sie avoid

Rowkin bit Charge


Small und light, die Rowkin little bit Charge are die idea form factor but do not cut ns mustard. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianPrice: $109.99/129.99 (buy here)

Some von the smallest buds on ns market, wie they arbeiten they sound OK, are relatively comfortable und are ns most discreet in this bunch. Castle available in two versions, with und without a charging case, hosted into their holders through magnets.

They struggled kommen sie maintain a connection betwee themselves, und the pairing routine was downright tedious if you wanted kommen sie connect them to another device.

Verdict: great form, poor function

Here are die ones kommen sie buy …

Bragi die Headphone

Bragi’s die Headphone hold a stable connection, sound nice good und last longer than you’ll desire to listen to them bei one go. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianPrice: €149 (£125) (buy here)

Bragi do some des the very zuerst wireless earbuds with ns Dash created from a $3m Kickstarter campaign bei 2014. They to be a combination between earbud und fitness tracker that failed to direkt up kommen sie expectations.

Now the neu Bragi die Headphone – stupid name as lock earbuds not headphones – aims zu simplify things und fix die problems the held zurück the Dash und so numerous others prefer it: connection reliability.

The earphones space kidney-shaped with bei earbud sticking out like bei old gramophone horn, which blasts ns sound under your earhole und keeps them in place. Castle light and nothing else of the earbuds has to touch her ears und you tun können wear them an multiple orientations do them die most comfortable wireless earbuds i have tried.

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The appropriate earbud has actually three buttons. Die bottom one ist the power taste – hold for three seconds zu turn castle on or turn off – also as die play, pause and skip-track button. Die left and right knoten adjust volume und switch ambient noise on and off, i beg your pardon pipes die sounds von the setting around sie into your ear using die microphones constructed into ns earbuds. The tasten are a bit stiff, but it’s not too difficult zu grab the rückseitig of ns bud with your finger when you drücken sie them zu save your ear canals.

They sound pretty good, once freundin get the fit right with the tips – they come with three, but only ns comply foam ones did die job zum me – and are comfortable zu wear for extended periods. They do notfall sound as an excellent as a £125 pair des wired earbuds, however they’re balanced, through decent separation, mids and highs. Those looking zum thunderous bass room out von luck and you oase to put trost with a klein hiss sound in the background wie they’re active.

The Headphone earbuds slot into ns case ready zum charging, however do notfall contain a battery for on-the-go charging. Photograph: BragiBragi reckons they’ll last for six hours betwee charges. They lasted an ext like five in my testing. The case doesn’t schutz a battery, i beg your pardon means you need to plug it bei to fee your earbuds, but zu sein has ns plus of being able kommen sie completely turn off the Headphone an interpretation they’ll blieb have charge wie you come rückseitig to lock after a long weekend or so.

But they schutz one winning feature that sets them apart from nearly all the others: rock-solid connectivity with all smartphones in the group.

Whether it’s kommen sie your smartphone or between themselves, the Headphone simply arbeiten where others execute not. Bei the office, on die train, on ns underground, ~ above a bus, walking under the street or with a train station, they maintained their connection and the music flowing.

Call quality, return only in mono through ns right earbud, was excellent und the recipient can hear me just fine.

Verdict: simple, good-sounding, comfortable und work, making them precious buying

Jabra upstream Sport

A rock-solid connection and ear-conforming form mean ns Jabra Elite sport bluetooth earbuds room a worthy contender. Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianPrice: £229 (buy here)

Jabra oase a lang history des making an excellent but notfall overly famous Bluetooth headphones. Die Elite are the company’s first wireless earbuds and while they’re fairly late to the game, lock worth waiting for.

Unlike die Bragi, die Elite earbuds fill the ear like a canal shell hearing aid. Die bottom bit, which has actually a heart rate sensor in it in the best earbud, fits against your antitragus und the oberteil bit the lower crural von the antihelix, holding the earbuds securely in place while ns tip fits into your ear canal.

They come with 3 sizes von wing und three various sizes des earbud in two materials, but i found die smallest wings to completely to fill my outer ear. The right felt a little uncomfortable at first, but settled down. Ns left ear is obviously a slightly different shape as the top part of the earbud constantly led to pain with die smallest wing.

The Elite’s link both bolzen each bud und to any of the smartphones was rock solid with no disturbances under any von the conditions i tested. They sound nice good, with more bass than the Bragi, return slightly much less balance and separation an the rest von the range. They so blocked out an ext ambient noise, but blieb made a small hiss sound when active bei the ear.

The Elite sport earbuds clip into the small battery case for storage and charging. Photograph: JabraEach earbud has actually two buttons und two microphones. Die right earbud controls pause, play und starts practice tracking. Double pressing the play button deshalb activates ambient sound. The left earbud has volume control buttons, which freundin hold for a second zu skip track.

They last weil das about 3 hours und come with a compact battery situation that wollen charge them twice.

The buds kann track love rate, fed to die Jabra sport Life app, and provide audio guidance zum workouts, runs, races and recovery sessions, using ns GPS from your phone kommen sie track her pace.

Call quality was good and in stereo, but die recipient couldn’t hear me rather as clearly as with ns Bragi.

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Verdict: bigger size could make them less comfortable, but they oase rock-solid connection, an excellent sound und added fitness features

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